Sunday 25 June 2017

Injured teen had to wait 75 minutes for ambulance - 5 minutes from depot

Manager Mark Towler and Kilreen Celtic soccer player Craig Linehan ,who was injured in a local match last weekend and waited 75 minutes for an ambulance to take him to CUH, located just 10 minutes away. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Manager Mark Towler and Kilreen Celtic soccer player Craig Linehan ,who was injured in a local match last weekend and waited 75 minutes for an ambulance to take him to CUH, located just 10 minutes away. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

An injured teen was left writhing in agony for over an hour on a football pitch as he waited for an ambulance.

Furious Cork football officials have demanded answers as to why the 14-year-old had to wait 75 minutes for an ambulance despite the fact the largest ambulance depot in the south is located just five minutes' drive away.

It has since emerged that the only available ambulance at the time was 80km away in Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

Craig Linehan was injured during an U-15 football match at Ballyphehane Park in Cork at 1.30pm last Saturday.

Kilreen Celtic coach Mark Towler said he was appalled at what Craig had to endure as he waited for medical treatment on the pitch.

At one point, parents were so upset at the obvious pain the teen was enduring, one jumped into his car and drove after an ambulance which was spotted passing.

Officials were so angry over what happened they contacted Cork radio station RedFM to highlight the issue.

Club officials and parents could not move the teen and take him to hospital themselves for safety reasons as it was unclear precisely how serious his injury was.

"We thought at the start that Craig had dislocated his hip. We didn't know if there was other damage caused," Mark said.

The first 999 call for a Health Service Executive (HSE) ambulance was made at 1.35pm.

Further calls were made at 1.52pm, 2.18pm and 2.31pm as club officials became increasing desperate to get medical help for the teen.

But the ambulance didn't arrive until 2.50pm.

"The poor lad was in agony," Mark said.

"It was very upsetting to see him in such pain. My heart was breaking just looking at him.

"We were desperate to get him some form of pain management before he was moved to hospital," he added.

It later transpired Craig sustained a severe soft-tissue injury but will make a full recovery.

"I have great respect for people working in the healthcare system and they do an incredible job," Mark said.

"But it is clear that they are working to breaking point. I have never been so mad and so ashamed of our healthcare system than I was on Saturday watching this poor lad in absolute agony waiting for help," he added.

A HSE spokesperson confirmed to the Irish Independent the receipt of an emergency call by the National Ambulance Service at 1.36pm last Saturday.

"All resources in the local area were engaged on other calls. Pre-arrival instruction was given by the call taker over the phone," a spokesperson said.

"An emergency ambulance from Dungarvan (in Waterford) was dispatched to the scene.

"While the Dungarvan ambulance was en route, an emergency ambulance became free in Cork city and was reallocated to this call arriving on scene at 2.49pm," said the spokesperson.

Irish Independent

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